TACOMA, Wash. - Staff with Pierce County Auditor’s Office had their work cut out for them on Election Day. From morning to evening, thousands of voters showed up to the office’s voter assistance drive-through service.
Voters were undeterred by Tuesday’s rainy weather and long lines, as cars were bumper-to-bumper waiting to get the voting assistance they needed. Police were on-site to help direct traffic. Auditor Julie Anderson said the large crowd was not expected.
“About half the people we’re seeing today have never been registered and are doing this for the first time. And then half the people are getting replacement ballots because they misplaced the one that we mailed to them,” said Anderson.
Some people said their wait in line to cast their ballot was almost two hours long. It may have been last minute, but several voters in Pierce County said they didn’t want to miss an opportunity to act on their constitutional right.
“Every vote matters and I believe that if you don’t vote you don’t have a right to complain,” said Santina Haywood, a Pierce County voter who recently moved to Washington from the east coast.
Anderson said several Pierce County voters cast their ballots for the first time.
“It’s all about making a change, making a difference. So, yeah, it’s time to make things happen,” said Andre Bryant, a first-time voter
“I’m actually very emotional right now. I actually want to cry because of what I stand for and believe that this is amazing of everything that’s going on in the world and the United States,” said Naomi Redfern, a first-time voter.
The auditor’s office predicts 85% voter turnout, a record for Pierce County. Also making county history is voter registration numbers. Though the wait was long and Election Day was busy, Anderson said she hopes the voters will show up again.
“The next election isn’t going to be 85%, but if we can bump it up to 60% and have those repeat customers that’s going to make our community healthier and our state stronger,” said Anderson.